6 Questions we get asked all the time about flammable liquids storage 

Sep 17, 2019 Posted by Walter Ingles

Here at STOREMASTA we get asked plenty of questions about the correct installation and use of Class 3 Flammable Liquid Storage Cabinets. In this blog we answer 6 of the most common questions our customers ask about keeping their flammable liquids in accordance with Australian Safety Standards and WHS Legislation. 

 

1. Why can’t I put my flammable liquids cabinet next to a powerpoint or electrical outlet?


Flammable liquids cabinets should never be installed within 3 metres of an ignition source. Overloaded and faulty power points, electric sockets and switches can overheat, discharge and spark — potentially igniting flammable vapours from the chemicals in the cabinet. 

According to Australian Safety Standards, an ignition source is defined as “A source of energy sufficient to ignite a flammable or explosive atmosphere. Examples of ignition sources include naked flames, hot surfaces, exposed incandescent material, electrical wiring arcs, mechanical or static sparks, hot particles, electrical discharge, and electrical or mechanical equipment not suitable for use in hazardous locations. 

 

2. Can I put my flammable liquids cabinet outside

Yes, and no. If your flammable liquids cabinet has been made from heavy duty materials, AND has adequate reinforcement, AND is installed inside an exterior barrier to protect it from impact damage — technically your cabinet can be used outside. But we don’t recommend it. 

Indoor flammable liquids cabinets are dual skinned and designed to contain all flammable vapours, leaks and spills within the cabinet. But if the cabinet is used outside this liquid-tight design presents two major problems: 

  • If rainwater or moisture penetrates the cabinet and gets into the dual walls, the cabinet could corrode and deteriorate. 
  • Indoor Flammable Liquid Storage Cabinets don’t have natural ventilation and in extreme heat, the vapours levels inside the cabinet can increase and create an explosion hazard. 

When storing flammable liquids outside, choose a single-walled chemical store — purpose built for Class 3 Flammable Liquids. 

 

3. What signs do I need to put on my flammable liquids cabinet?


According to Australian Standard AS1940:2017 –- The storage and handling of flammable and combustible liquids a flammable liquids cabinet requires the following: 

  • ‘NO SMOKING, NO IGNITION SOURCES WITHIN 3m’ — warning placard with lettering at least 50mm high. 
  • Class 3 Flammable Liquids — Dangerous Goods label at least 250mm (nominal length). 
  • Maximum capacity of the cabinet. 
  • Name and address of the manufacturer.  
  • Name of the Australian distributor (if the cabinet is imported). 

The cabinet must be installed in an area that has sufficient lighting, and all the above signs and markings must be visible (at all times) when the doors of the cabinet are closed. 

 

4. I’ve reduced the amount of flammable liquids I now store onsite. Can I recommission my flammable liquids cabinet and use it for another type of chemical?

No. A flammable liquids cabinet is made from specific construction materials and componentry to fully contain flammable vapours and liquid spills. These materials may be incompatible for use with other hazard classes (eg, acids and strong corrosives). 

Keep your workplace safe by correctly segregating different classes of Dangerous Goods and only using safety cabinets that are purpose-built for each different type of chemical. 

 

5. Is it compulsory to have a safety shower and eyewash station installed next to my flammable liquids cabinet? 

If your workers are at risk of skin or eye injury from the flammable liquids stored in a flammable liquids cabinet, you will require some sort of first aid equipment. These are requirements of: 

  • AS1940:2017 — The storage and handling of flammable and combustible liquids 
  • AS4775:2007 — Emergency eyewash and shower equipment 
  • Code of Practice: First aid in the workplace 

But! Installing a safety shower and eyewash station should only be done after conducting a risk assessment on the chemicals (and other) hazards present in work and Dangerous Goods storage areas. The physical properties of the chemicals, quantities kept, frequency of use/contact by workers will determine whether you need a hand-held eye flush cartridges or a fully plumbed safety shower with eyewash unit. 

 

6. Does it matter if I load the cabinet past the capacity marked on the front of the cabinets?

Yes, it does. To meet the requirements of Australian Safety Standards, indoor flammable liquids cabinets have a fitted spill containment sump — based on the capacity rating of the cabinet. If you overload the cabinet, the spill sump will not be capable of fully containing a leak or spill. 

At the same time, an indoor cabinet is also designed to completely contain flammable vapours. If you overload the cabinet, the vapour levels may breach workplace exposure standards as well as create an explosive atmosphere inside the cabinet. 

REMEMBER: Flammable liquids stored indoors are restricted to certain aggregate quantities, overloading your cabinet may also put you in breach of the maximum allowable chemical quantities. 

 

Next steps 

Do you have more questions about storing Class 3 Flammable Liquids in an indoor safety cabinet? Please download our free eBook Essential Considerations When Storing Flammable Liquids Indoors to learn more about hoto select, install, load and maintain a compliant flammable liquids cabinet. Download and read it today by clicking on the image below:  

Essential Considerations when Storing Flammable Liquids Indoors download Free eBook

Walter Ingles

Walter Ingles Compliance Specialist

Walter is STOREMASTA’s Dangerous Goods Adviser. He loves helping businesses reduce the risk that Dangerous Goods pose upon their employees, property and the environment through safe and compliant dangerous goods storage solutions.

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